Experts warn of geotagging risks

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    Nov 21, 2010 12:29 PM GMT
    This article is especially relevant to gay people in the closet who publish pictures of their body on gay related websites, expecting to remain anonymous:
    Hawaii News Now
    HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Trevor Ridinger's smart phone doubles as his camera. It's the University of Hawaii student's window to the world.

    "I have an iPhone 3GS. I take pictures maybe three of four times a week. Usually, I upload them to Facebook," he said.

    Encrypted onto his photos, invisible on the surface, are data bits called geotags.

    "These days cell phones and even cameras have GPS built into it. So whenever a photo is taken it's also including the longitude and latitude location there on the map," said James Kerr, who owns computer company SuperGeeks.

    The embedded information records where a photo's taken.

    "Say someone is stalking you and you take a picture at your home and you post it to Facebook, Twitter or someplace. With the right tools someone could determine exactly where that photo was taken. And by exactly, I mean within 150 to 200 feet," Kerr said.

    See here how to disable geotagging in smartphones. For pictures that already been geotagged, you can remove properties from pictures to get rid of the geotags.
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    Nov 21, 2010 2:03 PM GMT
    You should never place stuff on The Internet that your mother couldn't read. You should regard ANY post on The Internet as permanent and perpetual.
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    Nov 21, 2010 2:15 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidYou should never place stuff on The Internet that your mother couldn't read. You should regard ANY post on The Internet as permanent and perpetual.
    Exactly.
    However, when it comes to "true" stalking (ie. the rare but dangerous kind), it's true that geotags can be a huge help finding the whereabouts of the potential victim...especially is his pics are taken at his home, and do not have the geotags removed.

    Some new DSLRs also geotag images. Personally I think it's a stupid feature, and would either turn it off, or just not buy that camera if turning it off is not an option.
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    Nov 22, 2010 6:55 AM GMT
    Last that I had read on this subject (it has been a couple of months) facebook stripped the geotag out automatically. Even at that, I do not worry much if people want to know where I am or where I have been... I have very few real secrets.

    Having said that, my sister has 2 cute, little twin girls. While I try not to be alarmist, I have warned her to be careful of this and watch her friends as well. I would not want her posting pictures of them at the park and telling somebody where to find them by the geotag. I know stranger abductions are rare, but it is easy to prevent your pictures from containing the info you do not want them to.

    So, rather than worry if somebody might find out you were at a gay bar, perhaps think of people who really do need to worry about their safety (abused women, children, etc...) and warn them as well.